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Washington Post: E-Power to the People [via Gnutella]

May 18, 2000, 16:30 (1 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Ariana Eunjung Cha)

"Both the beauty and danger of Gnutella are that it is a more sophisticated version of Napster, the infamous and popular program that college students have been using to swap music files over the Web. Napster's developers have recently been hit with a flurry of copyright-infringement lawsuits. But unlike users of Napster, Gnutella aficionados can trade files without going through a storage center, making it impossible to shut down the system without unplugging every computer on the network and difficult to control by laws because there's no central authority."

"Marc Andreessen, a co-founder of Netscape Communications and a former chief technology officer for AOL, compares Gnutella to a benevolent virus, a "revolutionary" program that spreads the power of publishing from an elite set of corporations to anyone who has a computer. "It changes the Internet in a way that it hasn't changed since the browser," Andreessen said."

"At a time when the general assumption is that the World Wide Web's destiny will be guided by international conglomerates such as AOL, Amazon.com Inc., Yahoo Inc. and Microsoft Corp., Gnutella is the unexpected variable. Its very existence is a statement about the wild nature of the Web and how difficult it will be for anyone to tame it. It is also a dramatic display of how easily the Internet can be transformed or at least shaken by smart computer programmers who are barely old enough to drink or drive."

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